Washington: The man who attempted to
assassinate President Ronald Reagan is asking to spend more
time outside a Washington mental hospital, but a government
lawyer says John Hinckley`s request is premature and that he
recently lied to cover up the fact he looked at books on
Reagan and presidential assassinations.
A jury found Hinckley was insane when he shot and wounded
Reagan outside a Washington hotel in 1981, but doctors say his
mental illness has been in remission for years.
Yesterday, a federal judge began hearing arguments that
Hinckley should be allowed to visit his mother`s Virginia home
for stretches of approximately three weeks and eventually
transition to living outside the mental hospital full-time.
"This man is not dangerous. The evidence shows he is not
dangerous," Hinckley`s lawyer, Barry Levine, said at
yesterday`s hearing in Washington.
Government lawyers, however, oppose the plan for visits
of 17 and 24 days, saying Hinckley continues to be deceptive
and that he "is a man capable of great violence."
A judge has granted Hinckley, 56, increasing freedom from
a Washington hospital in recent years. Most recently, he has
been allowed to visit his mother`s home south of Washington
for 10-day stretches.
Hinckley said he shot Reagan to impress actress Jodie
But his diagnosis of major depressive disorder has been
in remission for approximately two decades, his lawyer said,
and a secondary diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder
is reduced. He still takes medication, but in low doses.
Reagan eventually recovered from the shooting and went on
to serve two terms as president. A secret service agent and
police officer who were shot also recovered from their wounds.
Reagan`s press secretary, James Brady, was shot in the
head and permanently disabled. He has since become an advocate
for preventing gun violence. Reagan died in 2004 at the age of